Believe it or not, there is a Wikipedia entry for one of the most colorful characters of my hometown of McComb – The Original Rhinestone Cowboy. It doesn’t do him justice, though, as it can’t describe the curious little man dancing with his tape deck and guitar downtown. He hung out mostly by Vest’s Shoes and I don’t remember ever being scared of him, even though he was covered from head to toe with rhinestones — even gluing them on his dentures! As a young adult, my friend Kim and I went to his house where every inch of the floors, walls and ceiling were covered in glitter and shiny things. We bought pieces of his artwork, which were just pieces of poster board covered with glitter, for nearly nothing. Looking back, I don’t remember anyone making fun of him or even questioning the odd costumes he wore. He was just “Rhinestone,” as we called him, doing his thing downtown in grand style!
From Wikipedia: Loy Allen Bowlin (1909–1995), also known as The Original Rhinestone Cowboy, was an outsider artist from McComb, Mississippi. His artwork largely included bejeweling his clothing, Cadillac, home and even his dentures with thousands of rhinestones. Bowlin’s life and work have been acclaimed by various outsider art critics and periodicals including Raw Vision.
After his death, Bowlin’s Mississippi home, the Beautiful Holy Jewel Home of the Original Rhinestone Cowboy, was acquired by the Kohler Foundation, Inc. and was moved to the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, where it is on permanent display.
Link to John Kohler Arts Center:
Another great article showing the inside of Rhinestone’s home: